Saturday, July 26, 2014

This Retirement Thang

Well, its been two plus years since I got the news that I was retired.  Sure doesn't seem that long ago.

You spend a life time thinking about it.  You day dream about it.  Then suddenly its your turn.  You think, ok, I can handle this.  How hard can it be?  Well, there are a few adjustments that you have to make.

Spending.  Unless you have an unlimited source of funds, spending implodes.  At first, you think its no big deal.  You payoff what you can, and continue to live your current life style.  Then, at the end of the month, you realize, hey, no more paycheck.  Whoops, time to cut back.  Clearance sale shopping was a hobby, now its full time.

Friends.  Remember all of those work friends you have/had.  Doesn't take long for contact with them to evaporate.  Most were overnight.  The really close ones are the dearest, with you to the end and beyond.  Some days you wonder, will it ever get to 5:00?  Time for the working people to come home and play!

Hobbies.  If you don't have one, get one.  They certainly help make the time pass by.  Me, I'm into bucket gardening, canning, and of course cooking.  A spring break project with son#2 has turned into a cottage industry.  I have lost count on the number of ice chest cooler boxes I have made.  Just finished two, and starting on another.  Baking doggies treats, cheese straws, and cookies for resale have also become part of my resume.

Job Hunt.  Did it for two years, as part of the weekly unemployment routine.  After applying for over 200 jobs, I had two interviews.  You know the drill:  overqualified, over paid, and over age.  Face it, the younger bucks have the inside track, as they can handle standing on their feet all day, work for lower pay, and grew up already knowing the in's and out's of paperless ecommerce.  Get to travel with the spousal unit a good bit, driving her on her appointed rounds while she is in the other seat working on her computer as we pass from one cell tower to the next. 

A job!  finally found some 1099 contract work.  Get to be my own boss, and work when I want.  Makes traveling with the spousal unit a whole lot less complicated.  I work in several movie theaters putting the cardboard standees together.  Some are a bit challenging!  Also doing assembly work at Home Depot and other stores.  I just thought I knew how to put things together!

Volunteer:  make good use of your time.  sitting in your chair or laying on the couch ain't gonna cut it.  I volunteer and work at Stewpot Food Pantry through my church.  I was driving the church bus on Wednesdays picking up the animals for choir practice.  The part time jobs have taken over that free time.

Vacations.  Yep, everyone needs a vaca, even retired people.  We bought into a couple of timeshare units.  Learned how they worked, then bought more days on the "after market".  Spousal unit loves the beach, so now, if we work it just right, she has up to four weeks in her (and mine) spot in the sand!

Insurance.  What a sticker shock that was.  Under COBRA my family coverage was gonna be $1750 per month.  And my term group life insurance that was $250 per month, was gonna be another $1750 per month once it was converted to the only option, a whole life policy.  Thankfully the spousal unit had coverage at her employer.  Never had to fool with Obummer care.

College tuition:  Got one out of school, and one that just started, now a junior.  Fortunately, with his scholarships and the money we saved for it, all is covered.

Got birthday number 58 coming up in September.  You can begin drawing funds out of an IRA without penalty at 59.5.  Hopefully my funds will last til then.  I think I can, I think I can, Hell, I know I can!

Advice to Others:  Sorry, some things you have to figure out on your own, just like me.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer 2014, where the hell did you go?

I know, its only July 25th, but all the signs say the end is near!

When you go to Wally World and the stacks and stacks of school supplies are staring you in the face, you know the other and is near.

When you start seeing the count downs til college footfall begins, you know the end is near.

When the New Orleans Saints have already reported to camp, you know the end is near.

When Lowes and Home Depot no longer stock garden and bedding plants you know the end is near.

When all those summers clothes you bought are now 70% off, you know the end is near.

When your tomater plants have given up from the heat, you know the end is near.

When you get bombarded with last minute beach vacation deals, you know the end is near.

When you son gets his MTAG award notification for the next school year, you know the end is near.

But,  all is not lost!  I've got one more beach trip on the calendar in less than three weeks.  The farmer's market still have veggies to put in the freezer.  And Wally World still has the marine coolers on the shelves!  Time to build more coolers!  Freeze and can!  And start packing my flippers for one more beach run!  Summer, you ain't dead yet!  And the Fall, you can just wait a little bit longer!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Well, guess what!  Its been a little over a year since I started this blog of mine.  With you get some interestimg statistics.

This post makes number 179.  Quite a few topics, but mostly related to trips I've taken with the Spousal Unit.  Gotten some feedback, but not a lot.  The funniest thing has been questions about "how come.....".  I then have to remind these folks that the blog is named " The World Through My Eyes"!

I post links thru Facebook and Google+  The total number of reads has been over 18,300 thru yesterday.  That averages to around 100 reads per post.  One post got over 700 reads, "Things Your Momma Might Say, Or Maybe Not!". Not sure how that happened.

Here are some surprising numbers:  32% of the readers use their IPhone, 19% use their IPad, 29% use their windows based laptop, and only 13% come from the Android.  Go figure...

Readers come from over 20 countries, mostly from the U.S., Canada, and Russia.  I'm guessing the foreign readers find it in Google+.  Figured I'd have more from those sexy women countries like France and Italy.  Must be the language barrier!

My parents have received a lot of feedback.  " where did he get his humor from?". "I don't remember him being this funny when he was growing up". The mother in law even commented that she didn't know I could write!  Me either fmuchhat matter!  I'm just pleased to find that most people enjoy it!

I sometimes worry that I will run out of things to write about, but then I will see something, experience something, or just have a run of the mill conversation with somebody, and the next thing you know, there is another blog posting.

Sometimes I have these little chats with my lady friends that go down odd roads.  They begin telling me these stories, then will interrupt themselves mid sentence and say " now don't put this on Facebook or your blog".  They eventually finish their tale, and so far I have honored their requests.  Thankfully no one has asked me to put one on here!

To those of you that help initiate a story, thank you very much!  Occasionally I take "literary license" to spice it up some, but for the most part, the versions of events are as I remember them.

As long as somebody is reading, I'll keep posting.  Thanks for the readership!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vaca 101

In the little bit of traveling that i have done, I've picked up a few tricks along the way.  Most are pretty simple, some are "well duh", and others you just learn along the way. Here are some of them that might come in handy.

1.  Pack light.  Luggage fees get steep once you cross the 50 pound limit.  If you are close to the weight limit, put heavy stuff and  a grocery store shopping bag in one of the outer pockets of your suitcase.  Chances are, somebody in your party can carry on one more bag if the scales don't tip in your favor.  The spousal unit can pick up a bag and tell if it is over 50.  Must be from toting those babies around all those years ago.

2.  Carry your medicines in a carryon.  Might want to include some personal items in case you luggage doesn't arrive with you.  Nothing worse than traveling with someone that needs a bitch suppressant pill every six hours and they don't have that pill!

3.  Make sure that everything you need is in the car with you before departing for the airport.  Do not depend on someone else.  The spousal unit called me from the airport, no suit case.  It was in the wee morning hours.  She thought son#1 had put her bag in the car.  They get to the airport, and no suitcase.  I made it there with no red light interruptions and three minutes to spare.

4.  When traveling out of country, turn off your smart phone features. You can get discounted minutes for international travel,  but the media charges will eat you alive. Use the hotel's internet service.  I ended up with a $400 cell phone bill on a company trip to Canada.

5.  Try out the paperless boarding passes.  Instead of having to find the hotels business center, you down load your boarding passes to your phone.  TSA has a scanner that reads the barcode off your phone.  Pretty cool.  Remember to have that phone charged.

6.  During a layover, or just waiting to board, take advantage of the available charging stations.  I now carry a compact Nexis instead of the bulky laptop, which is not needed in retirement!

7.  Take the right shoes.  Remember, shoes come off at the airport.  Had a woman on the USS Midway last night at a reception that was wearing 3 inch heels.  Her calf muscles were about to pop after climbing ladder stairs on a short tour of the carrier island on top!

8.  If staying several days in a high end hotel, make a stop at a local market to pick up soft drinks and water.  There should be a frig in your room.

9.  Do not panic if there is no slot in the door to scan your plastic room key.  There is now a sensor near the handle that reads the card.

10.  Bring some paper money for cash only purchases and tips.  Believe it or not, but most cabs have GPS's and credit card readers, even the bicycle taxis!  But, there is still the valet parking guy and the luggage guy to take care of.

11.  Most high end hotels supply all the toiletries you will need.  The Hyatt even had toothpaste along with the soap and shampoo!

12.  Watch out for that high priced breakfast buffet.  On this stay its $24.  They have a small deli where a sweet roll and juice is $7.

13.  When flying, pack some snacks and ear phones.  You can only eat so many peanuts and pretzels and peanuts.  Longer flights usually offer music and videos, but the headsets are not free.

14.  Don't panic if your suitcase gets blowed up!  Eventually, if you travel enough, its gonna happen.  The airline sometimes will get you a small allowance for a replacement.  However, you may be on the wrong side of the security line to buy one at the airport, then you can panic!

15.  Use Google maps to find out how far a restaurant or venue is from your hotel.  It may be in walking distance.  It can be a good tool in dealing with cabbies that like to take you the long way.

16.  Do some research before your trip.  Taxis might be cheaper than a car rental, depending on your proximity to places that interest you.  Or, a rental car may be a better fit.  The cost to go to an animal safari by taxi on this trip would have been $90 each way.  That just got saved for another trip.

17.  If you are traveling to a new destination, ask your social media friends for suggestions for restaurants and entertainment venues.  The suggestions I got off Facebook were very helpful for my first trip to San Diego!

18.  If you are traveling out of country or out of your normal pattern, let your credit card company know in advance.  This keeps them from putting your card on hold when you have charges come through from places far from home.

19.  Use the internet to purchase your tickets to shows, amusement parks, and ball games.  Even when "on site"  you can either print the tickets at the hotel or do a will call pickup.  Usually there is a discount for buying online.

20.  Have the man carry a small backpack.  Great for storing ponchos, dry socks, and snacks.  And don't forget a zip lock bag for dry storage of cell phones and other loose items.  Both are life savers!

Hope you found these to be useful.  Good luck in your travels!

Monday, July 21, 2014

USS Midway Museum

San Diego Harbor is the final home port for the USS Midway, built in 1945 and decommissioned in 1992.  I could not pass up the opportunity to tour this grand ship.

This sucker did not look that big from the road as we first passed by it on Friday.  This ship did not look that big from the hotel window.  It did not look that big from the restaurant next door last night.  But believe me, its BIG, coming in only 100 feet short of the current active carriers.

The cost of the tour was a bargain at only $20.  They have two self guided tours, one adult and one family.  For both, they issue you a set of headphones and a hand set.  I took the adult tour.

They have several elevators on sight, but if you cannot climb stairs both up and down, you will be terribly disappointed.  There are volunteer located throughout the ship to give you a narrative, or point you in the right direction.  You start on the hanger deck, work your way to the lower decks and finish up on the flight deck.

Lots of aircraft that served during the time that the USS Midway was on active duty are on board the ship.  The self quided tour includes conversation on all of these aircraft.

While during my visit, I was able to see two aircraft carriers at port.  Having three of these grand ships in the same harbor was an awesome sight.

If you are a history buff, this definitely should be pon your "must visit" list.  I chuckled a bit.  There were a lot of Japanese tourists on board today.  Guessing they don't have anything this grand in their own country since our Navy sunk most of them!

I spent a littler more than 5 hours on board.  If you ever make it this fatr west, definitely put it on your list of attractions to see, even if you aren't a history buff!  You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ladies Shoes

After a considerable amount of walking the past few days I've have been noticing something strange to me.   I've given up my flippers on the long walks in favor of a pair of socks and running shoes.  My shoes have given me the support that I have needed.  No sores or blisters, just some tired puppies at the end of the day.  I'm back in my flippers before dark.

Ladies, on the other hand, are a complete puzzle to me when it comes to shoes.  First, how can anybody walk in 3 inch stacked heels without falling face down.  Second, those heels with the pointy toes.  No wonder so many women are paying for pedicures so often!  Third, those flat soles shoes.  There is no way that those flat things are giving these girls any of the arch support that they need! Fourth, girls and women shell out $100's of dollars for a pair of Uggs.  I'm sorry, but the cold season in the South is far too short to justify a pair of Uggs.  Fifth, cheap shoes from pay less.  You fill up you closest with these things, and the next thing you know, a heel has popped off, or a strap has snapped, or a buckle is not missing.

A woman can have fifty pairs of shoes in her closet, and as soon as a new style comes out, off to the store they go!  A women shouldshould be able to make do with 10 pairs of shoes.  A man, after all, only needs five pair:  one black, one brown, one athletic, one boot and one pair of flippers.

So ladies,  what's with these multitude of shoes in the closet, and none of them purchased for comfort????


Take me to the Zoo!

One of my bucket list items has always included a trip to the San Diego Zoo.  My opportunity came this week when the Spousal Unit brought me along on a business trip.

I'm not much on doing anything solo, but with the spousal unit in conferences for most of the trip, I'm on my own.  If there is one thing to bring plenty of, its money, money, money!  Got a cranberry scone, cinnamon swirl roll and cranberry juice for $10, which was a whole lot less than the $24 breakfast buffet.

I had planned to go to both the Zoo and the Animal Safari, until I found out that the taxi fare each way was a minimum of $90.  Since I decided to narrow it down to one place, the $20 taxi ride to the Zoo won out!

I don't do taxi rides much, but here it is pretty much a necessity.  Some of the cabbies are full of good information, while others are just full of it!  The taxi ride was a short one, taking me thru some interesting parts of the city.  San Diego is a very urban city, with lots of inhabitants living in fancy, expensive condos and others living on the streets below.

We passed through Balboa Park on the way to the zoo.  I noticed what looked like a "tent city" and one cabbie said that was exactly what it was.  Accommodations have been set up in the park to see to the homeless, with lots of consideration to military veterans that have lost their way.

Soon as we made the turn, I knew we had arrived.  The parking lot was already full of cars.  The entrance was packed with families, young and old, pushing strollers and wheel chairs.

The money changers greeted you at the gate.  A fee for admission ($46), a fee for the 4D movie, fee for the locker, stroller or wheel chair if you needed one and also the electric scooter.

The zoo is built on hilly terrain, so not all exhibits are accessible by the handicapped.  Your price of admission included a guides tour bus trip thru 70% of the park.  This ride gives you a great first look at the zoo before you begin your trek by foot.  There are also bus pickup stations throughout the park if your feet can't take it anymore.  Also, a gondola ride will take you to opposite ends of the park.

Midway thru my visit, I stopped to get some lunch.  A wrap, fries and water were only $21.  Taking time out for food breaks can be a relaxing time.  You can sit back, enjoy your food, and take in a
All of the animal calls you can hear in the background, sounds like babies crying, kids screaming, and other languages being spoked at every other table.  I looked up, after hearing one infant in particular that was screaming his little head off!  Before I could guess which end was the problem, that momma had whipped out her feeding station, and before you knew it, that baby was in milk heaven.  Tried posting a pic on FB, but it must have fit a certain profile, and it would not up date anything.  Oh well, I think you have a mental picture!

The Zoo more than met my expectations.  The exhibits were well designed and maintained.  I was surprised by how much vertical space was used.  It was as if we were the ones being put on exhibit!

$20 more and i was back at the hotel.  $9 later I was sitting back writing this blog post with a snicker bar and a diet Pepsi.  Time to rest up a bit, before the spousal unit gets here and wants to do something fun.  (My poor tired aching feet!)

Tomorrow I tackle the USS Midway and hopefully that truck food that I missed on Friday.

Still having the time of my  life.  Glad I'm able to share some of it with you thru these blog posts!  God bless!